MLB Trade Rumors » » Cincinnati Reds 2017-09-20T04:26:04Z Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Outright D.J. Peterson]]> 2017-09-19T17:59:20Z 2017-09-19T17:59:20Z The Reds have outrighted corner infielder D.J. Peterson after he cleared waivers, per a club announcement. Cincinnati had just claimed the former top prospect off waivers from the White Sox.

Clearly, the series of moves was designed to add Peterson without tying up a 40-man spot, which seems to have been successful. He will be Rule 5 eligible if another organization wants to take a look during camp, but Peterson will not be able to elect minor-league free agency at the end of the current season.

Chosen 12th overall in the 2013 draft, Peterson once rated as one of the game’s hundred or so best prospects. His stock has slipped, though, as it became evident he likely wouldn’t stick at third base and as his bat has failed to develop.

The Mariners ultimately gave up on Peterson after he slashed .264/.323/.414 at Triple-A to open the season. He hit even less upon landing with the White Sox, but became the latest stalled power hitter to land with the Reds organization on Sunday. It seems reasonable to expect that Peterson will at least have some shot at impressing his new employer in camp, assuming he’s still with the club come mid-February.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Claim D.J. Peterson From White Sox]]> 2017-09-17T18:34:17Z 2017-09-17T18:21:00Z The Reds have claimed infielder D.J. Peterson off waivers from the White Sox. Cincinnati transferred reliever Drew Storen to the 60-day disabled list in a corresponding move. The White Sox also outrighted catcher Alfredo Gonzalez to Double-A Birmingham, reducing their 40-man total to 38, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune tweets.

This is the second time this year a club has claimed Peterson. He previously went to the White Sox on Aug. 6 after the Mariners designated him for assignment at the end of July. For Seattle, moving on from the 25-year-old meant cutting ties with a 2013 first-round pick and a player who was once a highly regarded prospect. Peterson struggled this season with the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate and did the same in his 97-plate appearance stint with the White Sox’s top farm team, giving him a .252/.315/.404 batting line in 518 PAs. The righty-swinger still hasn’t ascended to the majors, and he won’t report to the big league club upon his arrival to the Reds, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter).

The 25-year-old Gonzalez also hasn’t gotten past the minors since signing with the Astros as an international free agent in 2008. This year, his first in the Chicago organization, the Venezuelan hit .208/.306/.301 in 249 trips to the plate with Birmingham.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Drew Storen To Undergo Tommy John Surgery]]> 2017-09-17T15:10:14Z 2017-09-17T14:51:24Z Reds reliever Drew Storen will undergo Tommy John surgery, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (on Twitter). A right elbow strain has prevented Storen from taking the mound since Sept. 1, which will go down as his final appearance of the year, and the injury led the Reds to place him on the disabled list a week ago.

In addition to ending his 2017 campaign early, the procedure is all but guaranteed to take Storen out of play for next season. The 30-year-old is due to hit free agency during the upcoming winter, but both the injury and his underwhelming production in recent seasons will work against him on the open market.

Storen, whom the Reds signed to a one-year, $3MM deal last January, pitched to a 4.45 ERA in 54 2/3 innings this season and posted some of the worst strikeout and walk rates of his career (7.9 K/9 and 3.79 BB/9). He also saw his velocity dip for the second straight year, which happened to be his second subpar season in a row. As a member of the Blue Jays and Mariners in 2016, Storen combined for 51 2/3 frames of 5.23 ERA ball. Only five qualified relievers have prevented runs at a worse rate than Storen’s 4.82 ERA over the past two years.

At his best, Storen was one of the game’s most effective relievers from 2010-15, when he worked as a setup man and a closer in Washington. Storen, whom the Nationals chose 10th overall in the 2009 draft, amassed 334 innings of 3.02 ERA pitching in D.C. and recorded 8.65 K/9 against 2.59 BB/9.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Hunter Greene No Longer Has Two-Way Aspirations]]> 2017-09-17T03:03:39Z 2017-09-17T03:02:00Z
  • Reds prospect Hunter Greene entered this year’s draft as a right-handed pitcher/shortstop, but the second overall pick is no longer eyeing a two-way career. Rather, he’s solely focused on pitching, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The 18-year-old revealed that he feels a “lot more natural” on the mound and suggested that working as both a pitcher and a position player in the pros would’ve been too physically taxing for him. “Big kudos to the guys in the big leagues who are playing every day, it’s a lot of work on the body, the arm and the feet. It’s a lot,” Greene said. “To be able to have rest days and recover and be able to have that day where you go out and perform and pitch at your best, it’s more comfortable for me.”
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Rule 5 Roundup]]> 2017-09-14T16:14:45Z 2017-09-14T14:15:17Z With just a few weeks left in the season, we have a pretty clear idea of which Rule 5 draft picks will stick with their drafting teams. At this point, having already carried the player this far and with expanded rosters easing any pressures, teams are quite likely to stay the course. Here’s how this season’s Rule 5 group has shaken out thus far:


    It isn’t official yet, but these

    • Miguel Diaz, RHP, kept by Padres (via Twins) from Brewers: As part of the Pads’ unusually bold Rule 5 strategy, the club kept three youngsters this year. Diaz, 22, has managed only a 6.21 ERA with a 31:22 K/BB ratio over 37 2/3 innings. But he is showing a 96 mph heater and will remain with the organization, quite likely heading back to the minors next season to continue his development.
    • Luis Torrens, C, kept by Padres (via Reds) from Yankees: The youthful backstop — he’s just 21 — has struggled badly on offense in limited action. Through 133 plate appearances, he’s slashing just.169/.246/.212 — with just four extra-base hits, none of them home runs.
    • Allen Cordoba, INF, kept by Padres from Cardinals: And then there’s Cordoba, who’s also just 21 years of age. He faded after a hot start at the plate, but on the whole his output — a .209/.284/.304 batting line and four home runs over 215 plate appearances — is fairly impressive given that he had never before played above Rookie ball.
    • Dylan Covey, RHP, kept by White Sox from Athletics: Technically, owing to a DL stint, Covey has only compiled 83 of the minimum 90 days of active roster time required to be kept. But he’s going to make it there before the season is up, meaning that the Sox will be able to hold onto his rights and option him back to the minors in 2018. Covey, 26, has struggled to a 7.90 ERA with 4.9 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 over 54 2/3 innings, allowing 18 long balls in that span.
    • Stuart Turner, C, kept by Reds from Twins: Turner has seen minimal action, appearing in just 33 games and taking only 77 trips to the plate. And he’s hitting just .141/.184/.268 in that sporadic action. Clearly, though, the Reds have seen enough to believe he’s worth the trouble to hang onto.

    Still In Limbo

    • Kevin Gadea, RHP, selected by Rays from Mariners: Gadea has not pitched at any level this year owing to an elbow injury. He’ll remain with the Tampa Bay organization for the time being, but will still need to be carried on the 40-man roster over the offseason and then on the active roster for at least ninety days for his rights to permanently transfer.
    • Armando Rivero, RHP, selected by Braves from Cubs: It’s the exact same situation for Rivero as for Gadea, though he has had shoulder problems.
    • Josh Rutledge, INF, selected by Red Sox from Rockies: This was not your typical Rule 5 move. Boston snagged the veteran infielder after he signed a minors deal with Colorado. He ended up seeing minimal MLB time owing to injuries and his season ended recently with hip surgery. Rutledge is eligible for arbitration this fall and isn’t likely to be kept on the 40-man roster regardless.
    • Anthony Santander, OF, selected by Orioles from Indians: Since he only made it off of the DL late in the summer, Santander can accrue only 45 days on the active roster. If Baltimore wants to keep him, then, it’ll need to put him on the Opening Day roster next year. Santander has seen minimal playing time thus far, recording two hits in twelve trips to the plate, though he put up impressive numbers on his rehab assignment.

    Kept By Other Means

    • Daniel Stumpf, LHP, signed with Tigers after electing free agency upon return to Royals: This is another unusual situation. As a previous Rule 5 returnee, Stumpf was eligible to elect free agency upon being returned to his original organization. That’s just what happened when Detroit sent him back to Kansas City; the southpaw then turned around and re-signed a MLB deal with the Tigers. He has ended up turning in a rather productive year, posting 32 1/3 innings of 2.78 ERA ball with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 at the major-league level and showing even more impressive numbers during his time at Triple-A.

    Already Returned

    • Tyler Jones, RHP, returned to Yankees by Diamondbacks: Jones has thrown rather well at Triple-A since going back to the New York organization, posting 10.7 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings, though he has also allowed 4.38 earned per nine.
    • Caleb Smith, LHP, returned to Yankees by Brewers: Smith ended up earning a 40-man roster spot and spending some time in the majors after showing quite well as a starter in the minors. But he has been knocked around in his 18 2/3 MLB frames on the year.
    • Justin Haley, RHP, returned to Red Sox by Twins (via Angels): The 26-year-old didn’t stick with Minnesota, allowing a dozen earned runs in 18 innings before being returned to Boston. But he has thrown well since landing back at Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 2.66 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 44 innings over seven starts.
    • Tyler Webb, LHP, returned to Yankees by Pirates: Webb also gained a 40-man spot with the Yankees after showing some intriguing K/BB numbers at Triple-A. He was ultimately dealt to the Brewers.
    • Aneury Tavarez, OF, returned to Red Sox by Orioles: Tavarez played his way back up to Triple-A upon his return to his former organization, but has hit just .244/.292/.400 in 145 plate appearances there.
    • Glenn Sparkman, RHP, returned to Royals by Blue Jays: Sparkman was bombed in his one MLB appearance and has been limited to just 30 1/3 minor-league frames due to injury.
    • Hoby Milner, LHP, returned to Phillies by Indians: Another player who has risen to the majors with the organization that originally let them leave via the Rule 5, Milner has turned in 24 1/3 frames of 1.85 ERA ball in Philadelphia. Of course, he has also managed just 15 strikeouts against ten walks in that span.
    • Mike Hauschild, RHP, returned to Astros by Rangers: The 27-year-old righty struggled badly in his eight MLB frames. Upon returning to the rotation for Houston’s top affiliate, Hauschild has uncharacteristically struggled with free passes (5.3 per nine).
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Three Needs: Cincinnati Reds]]> 2017-09-13T20:05:39Z 2017-09-13T19:56:20Z Next up in our Three Needs series: the Cincinnati Reds.

    [Cincinnati Reds Depth Chart]

    1. Don’t (completely) abandon the pitching strategy. 

    Wait, what?! The Reds’ pitching staff has been the worst in all of baseball since the start of 2016, handily pacing the league in the volume of walks, long balls, and earned runs allowed. Actually, that doesn’t quite capture it: the Reds’ pitching staff has essentially defined replacement level since the start of 2016, making it a true outlier. By measure of fWAR, at least, the 2016-17 Reds hurlers have turned in a two-year stretch of futility that is orders of magnitude worse than any other organization of the past two decades, falling well shy of the dreadful 2004-05 Royals and 2002-03 Devil Rays units.

    It goes without saying that there’s work to be done if the Reds hope to win at any point in the near future. But Cinci was largely justified in its recent approaching, having accumulated a significant number of interesting-enough pitching prospects at the upper levels of the farm. While few were seen as sure things, the club correctly assessed its chances of contention (not good) and declined to dole out significant contracts to back-of-the-rotation veterans. (Compare to the Braves and Phillies, who spent quite a lot of money on veteran pitching and ended no closer to contention than did the Reds.)

    Clearly, the pitching hasn’t developed as hoped; there’s quite a lot of room for self-assessment and improvement. But injuries to Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, Homer Bailey, and even Scott Feldman — the rare player the Reds did sign into the rotation — played a major role in the dreadful performance, too. The first three of those hurlers will have an offseason to rest up. Luis Castillo — acquired for Dan Straily, who was found last year as part of the budget-friendly strategy — looks like an arm to build around. And the Reds have seen enough moments of intrigue from a few younger arms to hope that one or more can round out the starting unit. Others will become affordable relievers, perhaps with some capacity to make longer relief appearances (an approach the organization has stressed, with some success thus far).

    At this point, there’s little reason for the Reds to suddenly begin investing in expensive, aging starters. It would be nice to see some stability added into the mix over the winter — the Feldman signing could provide a guide, or the team could perhaps spend a bit more and take a shot on a higher-upside arm — and the Reds have enough talent on the position-player side to be a plausible contender as soon as next year. But continued restraint would be preferable to a move that ties the organization’s hands in future campaigns.

    2. Shop Raisel Iglesias.

    What do you do with the best pitcher on a historically awful staff? Trade him, of course! Sounds odd at first glance, I’ll admit, but the Reds could be in a position to cash in on the talented right-hander.

    Iglesias could be the centerpiece of a big trade after turning in 71 1/3 innings of 1.89 ERA pitching (so far) with 11.0 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. The 27-year-old is guaranteed just $14.5MM over the next three seasons, though he can choose instead to opt into arbitration and would qualify next year as a Super Two. Iglesias can also be tendered arbitration in 2021, meaning the Reds control him for four more campaigns at what ought to be quite an appealing rate (though his outstanding pitching and saves tallies will boost his earning power in arbitration).

    For organizations that will be looking into veteran free-agent closers, or that otherwise have interest in a multi-inning relief ace (and who doesn’t?), there ought to be a real willingness to part with significant young talent. Teams will no doubt notice that Iglesias has thrown harder and generated more whiffs than ever this year, elevating his trade stock to what may well be an all-time high. Given the risks inherent to any pitcher, let alone a flame-throwing reliever, it’s quite possibly an opportune time for the Reds to cash him in.

    To be sure, it would be foolish to give up such a talented, controllable asset for less than a compelling return. But the guess here is that the club should have a good chance of prying loose some quality, near-MLB assets — all the better if that includes a young starter — that could be of greater long-term impact and help set the stage for a sustainable run of contention. Earnestly shopping Iglesias will at least give the organization a strong sense of his market value, and might just drum up a great trade opportunity.

    3. Bid a fond farewell to Zack Cozart.

    It’s unfortunate that the Reds were never able to cash in on the strong play of their veteran shortstop, who has turned from a light-hitting defensive whiz to an all-around star in 2017. Injuries and thin market demand make the failure to strike a match largely understandable from the front office’s perspective.

    Now, though, the club is left with a decision to make — one that’ll be due just five days after the end of the World Series. Should the club choose, it can dangle a qualifying offer to the free-agent-to-be. If he declines, and signs for more than $50MM elsewhere, the Reds could score an extra draft pick just after the end of the first round. Of course, if Cozart falls shy of that amount in free agency, the team would receive only a choice after the second round.

    When polled recently, MLBTR readers were split as to how the team should proceed, but most felt a QO was in order. Count me among the minority on that decision. Cozart is already 32 and has battled quite a few injuries in recent years. We have already seen the dearth of shortstop demand leaguewide; while he’ll no doubt land a solid, multi-year deal, Cozart likely won’t earn enough (with draft pick compensation required of a signing team) to earn the Reds the highest-possible pick. And he will need to strongly consider taking the ~$18.1MM payday for one year of work.

    As good as Cozart has been, and as hard as it may be to see him walk away with nothing coming in return, the Reds simply can’t afford to take the chance that he takes the offer. The team already has over $60MM on the books and will owe some reasonably significant arbitration salaries. Rather than potentially adding an expensive veteran to the left side of the infield, Cincinnati should be anticipating how to clear the way for top prospect Nick Senzel, who destroyed Double-A pitching this year but is blocked at third by Eugenio Suarez — who has spent plenty of time as a professional at short.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Designate Barrett Astin For Assignment]]> 2017-09-12T18:45:51Z 2017-09-12T18:36:58Z The Reds announced on Tuesday that they’ve designated right-hander Barrett Astin for assignment in order to clear space on the roster for righty Deck McGuire, whose contract has been selected from Double-A. Cincinnati has also reinstated outfielder Jesse Winker from the 10-day disabled list and recalled right-handed pitching prospect Keury Mella, who will be making his MLB debut when he first takes the hill for the Reds.

    Astin, 25, was acquired along with fellow righty Kevin Shackelford in the 2014 trade that sent reliever Jonathan Broxton from Cincinnati to Milwaukee. The former third-rounder out of Arkansas enjoyed a terrific 2016 campaign in Double-A (2.26 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 in 103 1/3 frames) but has posted an ERA north of 6.00 in both Triple-A and a brief Major League stint this season.

    In eight big league innings, Astin allowed six runs on nine hits (two homers) and seven walks with just a pair of strikeouts. Astin does have a pair of options remaining beyond the 2017 campaign, so a club that is intrigued by his quality 2016 output could conceivably claim him, bring him to camp next year and option him without first needing to expose him to waivers.

    The 28-year-old McGuire is a known name to some thanks to his No. 11 overall selection out of Georgia Tech by the Blue Jays back in the 2010 draft. He’s yet to live up to that draft billing, struggling greatly in Triple-A for the Jays, Athletics, Dodgers and Cardinals before landing in the Reds organization this past winter.

    While McGuire spent the year in Double-A rather than the minors’ top level, he notched a strong 2.79 ERA with 9.1 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 with a 38.8 percent ground-ball rate through 168 innings (27 starts). McGuire has never made it to the Majors, so this call-up represents a payoff after seven minor league seasons working toward that end.

    As for Mella, the 24-year-old as billed as the centerpiece in the 2015 trade that sent right-hander Mike Leake to San Francisco, though left fielder Adam Duvall, who was also in the deal, has since proven to be a high-quality return on his own. Mella ranks 21st among Reds farmhands, per Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of, and has pitched to a 4.30 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 46.3 percent ground-ball rate through 134 innings for Double-A Pensacola in 2017.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Poll: Should The Reds Give Zack Cozart A Qualifying Offer?]]> 2017-09-11T15:37:37Z 2017-09-11T15:29:17Z An ill-timed injury that landed Zack Cozart on the disabled list from July 26 through Aug. 6 may have prevented the Reds from trading their shortstop prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. The Reds placed Cozart on revocable trade waivers last month and reportedly pulled him back after the claiming team placed the claim more to block other contenders from acquiring Cozart than to work out a trade themselves.

    Zack Cozart | Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsThat effectively eliminated the possibility of the Reds trading Cozart at all, leaving general manager Dick Williams and his staff with somewhat of a dilemma. Cozart has played at star level on a per-game basis over the past three seasons — never more so than in 2017 — but has also dealt with injuries in each of those three seasons. The rebuilding Reds, then, are faced with the choice of either letting one of their best players walk as a free agent with no compensation or making a one-year qualifying offer that is reported to be in the $18.1MM range, which would net them draft pick compensation. There’s an argument to be made in favor of either decision.

    Those that feel a qualifying offer is too great a risk have an understandable vantage point. Cozart is 32 years old and, assuming he remains healthy through season’s end, will have averaged about 100 games per year over the past three seasons. In that time, he’s been sidelined by a torn ACL, some knee troubles in 2016 and quadriceps issues in 2017. There will also likely be clubs that wonder if this year’s offensive breakout is sustainable; while he’d shown much-improved power in both 2015 and 2016, Cozart’s offensive output has never approached his 2017 levels in the past.

    There’s also a lack of contending clubs or expected contenders with clear-cut shortstop needs this offseason, creating the potential for the same limited market the Reds found when seeking trade partners in both 2016 and 2017. And, Cozart has only earned about $12MM in his career, so the prospect of increasing his career earnings by 150 percent in a single season will make it tempting to accept — especially since the new CBA prohibits the team from making a second QO the following offseason.

    [Related: Offseason Primer — The New Qualifying Offer Rules]

    On the other hand, a one-year deal for Cozart at $18.1MM isn’t necessarily a bad outcome. He’s been worth considerably more than that this season even with his injuries, thanks to his perennially elite defense and his career-best .304/.397/.549 batting line. Cozart’s offensive improvement doesn’t appear to be due entirely to BABIP luck, either. He’s more than doubled his career walk rate (6.4 percent career, 13 percent in 2017), his strikeout rate remains strong (15 percent — well below the league average) and his 31.4 percent hard-hit rate is largely a continuation of last year’s solid pace.

    Like many others throughout the league, Cozart has increased his fly-ball rate a bit, and he’s also benefited from a not-outlandish uptick in his 2015-16 homer-to-flyball ratio. The Reds can probably expect some degree of regression in his career-high .324 BABIP, but even a return to his career level of .281 would render the new, ultra-patient and more powerful version of Cozart a decidedly above-average bat. Cozart will enter this offseason as a markedly better offensive producer than J.J. Hardy was when he signed a three-year, $40MM deal to remain with the Orioles at the same age.

    There may not be a lengthy list of teams eyeing shortstop upgrades, but there are plenty of clubs that could work Cozart into the mix. The Cardinals could deploy Paul DeJong at third base and play Cozart at shortstop. The D-backs have some uncertainty and were often a speculative Cozart suitor this summer, though they do have Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed both controllable beyond the current campaign. The Padres aren’t contending but have long been seeking stability at shortstop, while the Royals will be on the lookout for an Alcides Escobar replacement. Trevor Story has taken a step back in Colorado. Both Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis have injury concerns in Toronto. And, as ever, offseason trades and injuries, will alter every free agent’s market.

    Were Cozart to accept, the Reds wouldn’t be able to trade him without his consent until mid-June of 2018. However, he could also once again command interest at the 2018 non-waiver deadline, particularly if he maintains his breakout and the Reds show some willingness to pay any of the contract. (Cincinnati did pay the bulk of Brandon Phillips’ contract this past offseason, and Cozart’s deal almost certainly wouldn’t require the Reds to pay such a significant portion, even at $18.1MM.)

    All of that said, I’ll open this up for public input (link to poll for MLBTR app users)…


    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Bryan Price Will Be On Hot Seat In 2018]]> 2017-09-09T19:51:43Z 2017-09-09T19:51:43Z
  • Reds manager Bryan Price will return next season, but his future beyond then is in question, per Rosenthal, who adds that the club could cut the cord if it doesn’t make legitimate progress in 2018. The Reds have gone just 269-359 in three-plus years under Price and are currently one loss away from guaranteeing their fourth straight sub-.500 season during his reign. There hasn’t been much pressure on Price to this point, though, given Cincinnati’s rebuilding status and its lack of pitching.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Billy Hamilton Diagnosed With Fractured Thumb]]> 2017-09-06T20:32:18Z 2017-09-06T20:32:18Z The Reds announced that center fielder Billy Hamilton sustained a fractured left thumb in today’s game and is expected to be placed on the 10-day disabled list. That puts the remainder of the season in jeopardy for Hamilton, though manager Bryan Price told reporters that the injury does not necessarily end the fleet-footed Hamilton’s season (Twitter link via Adam Baum of the Cincinnati Enquirer).

    Hamilton initially sustained the injury on a bunt attempt in the first inning. He exited the game and headed straight for an MRI, as’s Mark Sheldon tweeted at the time.

    [Related: Cincinnati Reds depth chart]

    The 26-year-old Hamilton has seen his offensive production take a step backwards after hitting .293 with a .369 on-base percentage in the second half of the 2016 season. Thus far in 2017, he’s matched his career-high of 58 stolen bases but has done so with a sub-par .248/.299/.333 batting line through an even 600 plate appearances. That said, Hamilton’s baserunning continues to be regarded as the best in the Majors, per Fangraphs’ BsR metric, and his glovework in center field remains considerably above average as well.

    With Hamilton on the shelf, the Reds can turn to Jose Peraza and Phillip Ervin in center field. Cincinnati has also played Scott Schebler in center field on occasion in 2017, so they could slide him over for a day or two as a means of getting prospect Jesse Winker some additional at-bats once Winker returns from the disabled list. Sheldon wrote earlier today that Winker was nearing a return from a strained hip flexor.

    Looking ahead, Hamilton remains the odds-on favorite to hold down regular duties in center field next year yet again. Despite his lagging bat, his baserunning and glovework make him a useful player. Plus, the lack of power has held down his arbitration earnings. Hamilton took down just $2.625MM this year and can be controlled for two more seasons to come. That said, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if Cincinnati began considering alternatives as soon as this winter.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Exercise Bryan Price’s 2018 Option]]> 2017-09-04T15:28:36Z 2017-09-04T15:28:52Z Sept. 4: Price confirmed to reporters today that his 2018 option has been exercised by the team (Twitter links via’s Mark Sheldon). “It’s a good thing, I think, for all of us because we’d like to see this thing through to the other side,” said the skipper.

    Sept. 2: Manager Bryan Price will remain at the helm of the Reds in 2018, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Thanks to a clause in the contract Price signed last year, the Reds were required to inform him by Saturday whether they’d exercise his 2018 club option. However, the team actually assured him in July that he’d return, per Rosecrans, who adds that Price’s entire coaching staff will likely be invited back.

    Next season will be the ninth in Cincinnati for Price, who served as predecessor Dusty Baker’s pitching coach from 2010-13 before taking over as the club’s manager. The Reds have gone just 276-355 in three-plus seasons under Price, haven’t won more than 76 games in an individual year during his reign and rank among the majors’ worst teams in 2017 with a 58-77 mark. That isn’t to suggest Price has been at fault, though, as the Reds are in the midst of a rebuild and have been devoid of pitching during his tenure. This year’s Reds entered Saturday last in the sport in ERA (5.29) and pitching fWAR (2.5). To put the latter figure in perspective, 34 big league starters and four relievers have posted an equal or better fWAR than the combined total of the 29 pitchers the Reds have used in 2017.

    Given their woes on the mound, it’s no surprise that the Reds are toward the bottom of the standings yet again. There have been some bright spots this year, however, including the continued brilliance of first baseman Joey Votto and breakouts from young starter Luis Castillo, relief ace Raisel Iglesias and third baseman Eugenio Suarez.

    The performance of a manager is difficult to quantify, meaning it’s unclear how much the 55-year-old Price has positively or negatively impacted any of the Reds’ players. Regardless, he and his staff have shown enough to general manager Dick Williams to warrant at least another year in the dugout.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Release Lisalverto Bonilla, Select Contract Of Zach Vincej]]> 2017-09-01T17:12:28Z 2017-09-01T17:12:28Z The Reds announced Friday that they’ve selected the contract of infielder Zach Vincej from Triple-A Louisville and released right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Right-hander Ariel Hernandez has also been recalled from Louisville as a September call-up, per Cincinnati’s announcement.

    Vincej, 26, was the 1132nd pick of the 2012 draft — all the way down the board in the 37th round. He’s slowly risen through the minor league ranks and had a huge performance in last year’s Arizona Fall League before hitting .270/.325/.370 in his first taste of Triple-A this year. Vincej doesn’t rank among Cincinnati’s top prospects, but he’ll provide some up-the-middle depth for the Reds in his first look as a Major Leaguer.

    Bonilla, 27, returned to the Majors for the first time since 2014 this year, though the results weren’t favorable. In 36 2/3 frames, he was torched for an 8.10 ERA — allowing 33 earned runs on 42 hits (eight homers) and 22 walks. He also hit a pair of batters and threw three wild pitches. Bonilla has a history of missing bats in the minors, but he averaged just 6.9 K/9 against his 5.4 BB/9 in 2017.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Pulled Zack Cozart Back From Revocable Waivers]]> 2017-08-31T12:44:12Z 2017-08-31T12:44:12Z Reds shortstop Zack Cozart won’t be going anywhere before season’s end, as he’s already been claimed and subsequently pulled off waivers this month, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. According to Heyman, the unnamed team that placed a claim on Cozart did so as a means of blocking him from other contenders.

    The 32-year-old Cozart is a free agent following the season, meaning the only way that the Reds can receive compensation in the event of his departure on the open market would be to make a one-year qualifying offer to Cozart that would be worth a reported $18.1MM.

    While Cozart isn’t exactly a household name and is a bit old relative to most first-time free agents, there’s nonetheless a pretty strong case that the Reds should go exactly that route. Cozart has long rated as a premium defensive shortstop, but he’s upped his power output over the past three seasons. And, in 2017, he’s taken his overall offensive game to new heights, turning in a superlative .309/.402/.556 batting line through 408 plate appearances. Even if Cozart were to accept a qualifying offer, his level of play in any of the past three seasons, on a per-game basis, would be well worth that commitment.

    Of course, it’s also important to stress the “per-game basis” component of that line of thinking, as injuries have been a significant hindrance to Cozart since 2015. A torn knee ligament limited Cozart to just 53 games in what was shaping up to be a breakout 2015 season, and some September knee troubles prematurely ended his 2016 campaign as well. This year, Cozart’s knees have apparently held up just fine, but he’s still missed about a month of the year due to a pair of quadriceps injuries — one in each leg.

    For all of the positives that Cozart brings to the table, his placement on the DL just prior to the non-waiver deadline (July 29) and the large number of contending clubs that already deploy high-quality shortstops combined to prevent the Reds from dealing him in July. That surplus of top-notch shortstops around the league could also impact Cozart’s market in free agency this winter. All of that will be part of the calculus for the Reds when determining whether to make a QO in the first place and for Cozart when determining his course of action.

    From my vantage point, it’s well worth the risk for Cincinnati — a one-year deal for Cozart at that rate isn’t a bad outcome — but the rebuilding Reds may not wish to spend at that level to retain Cozart when the team has younger options it’d like to evaluate with those at-bats.

    Jason Martinez <![CDATA[Knocking Down The Door: Anderson, Gonsalves, Lopez, Maples, Walker]]> 2017-08-28T20:56:16Z 2017-08-28T19:03:11Z “Knocking Down the Door” is a regular feature that identifies minor leaguers who are making a case for a big league promotion.

    Brian Anderson, 3B, Miami Marlins (Triple-A New Orleans) | Marlins Depth Chart

    Brian Anderson | Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsSince a mid-July promotion to Triple-A New Orleans, the 24-year-old Anderson has been hitting like someone who knows he’s auditioning for a Major League job. In 29 Pacific Coast League games, the right-handed hitting third baseman is slashing .350/.420/.631 with eight home runs and 12 multi-hit games.

    Dee Gordon and Martin Prado will presumably be on the trade block this offseason, and the Marlins wouldn’t pull the trigger on dealing either player without knowing if they have a potential in-house replacement (Prado could move to second base if Gordon is traded). If there is a Marlins prospect who is a candidate to step into a starting role in 2018, it would be Anderson, a former third-round draft pick. Calling him up in the near future and giving him 100+ plate appearances would give the Marlins a much better idea of how capable he is of becoming their starting third baseman next season.

    Stephen Gonsalves, SP, Minnesota Twins (Triple-A Rochester) | Twins Depth Chart

    A shoulder injury that pushed Gonsalves’ season debut to mid-May could be a blessing in disguise for him and the Twins. While most starting pitching prospects are usually close to their innings limit in August and not expected to contribute much at the Major League level in September and beyond, Gonsalves is at 109 2/3 innings after his latest start. Considering that he threw 140 innings during a breakout 2016 in which he appeared very much on the fast track to the Major Leagues, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s pitching for the playoff-contending Twins late this season.

    The 23-year-old lefty was recently promoted to Triple-A following a dominant 28-start stint in Double-A (161 2/3 IP, 2.28 ERA, 6.1 H/9, 3.3 BB/9, 10.3 K/9) over the past two seasons. After posting back-to-back quality starts, Gonsalves struggled in his third Triple-A outing before bouncing back with another stellar effort over the weekend (6 IP, ER, 7 H, BB, 6 K). The Twins are currently in possession of a Wild Card berth with Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee serving as their fourth and fifth starters, respectively. If they’re going to hold on, they might need to turn to their farm system one more time. Gonsalves could be the difference maker.

    Jose Lopez, SP, Cincinnati Reds (Double-A Pensacola) | Reds Depth Chart

    The 23-year-old Lopez is only three months removed from pitching in the High-A Florida State League, but there are already several reasons to believe that he’s not far away from the Majors. After allowing 15 earned runs in his first 27 innings with Double-A Pensacola, the right-hander has been one of the best pitchers in the Minor Leagues. In his last 10 starts, he has a 1.24 ERA with 4.8 H/9, 1.6 BB/9 and 8.0 K/9. He’s completed at least six innings and hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs or five hits over that span.

    During Lopez’s first crack at the upper minors, he’s shown an ability to make adjustments, miss bats, throw strikes and pitch deep into games—he has a 68.5% strike rate and hasn’t thrown more than 96 pitches in any of his 10 consecutive quality starts. Tyler Mahle, who made this list on May 1st and June 27thbecame the 15th Reds’ pitcher to make a start in 2017 when he made his MLB debut yesterday. Lopez deserves to be the 16th.

    Dillon Maples, RP, Chicago Cubs (Triple-A Iowa) | Cubs Depth Chart 

    The Cubs appeared to solidify what was already a deep and talented bullpen by acquiring lefty Justin Wilson at the trade deadline. Wilson has been mostly ineffective, however, while the team’s other key relievers have been unreliable, to put it kindly, over the past few weeks. It’s not quite a major area of concern at this point, considering the track record of the group, but it’s probably alarming enough to at least take a look at adding a reinforcement from the Minors, even one that began the season in High-A.

    Maples’ rise didn’t begin immediately after the team converted him to a reliever a few years back. His numbers out of the ’pen were unimpressive in 46 appearances in the low minors from 2015-16, but something has apparently clicked in 2017. In 51 appearances across three levels, including his last 16 with Triple-A Iowa, the 25-year-old has a 2.74 ERA, 6.2 H/9 and 14.3 K/9. The walks are a concern (5.3 BB/9), but he’s only walked more than one batter in three of his combined 30 appearances in the upper minors. It’s also worth noting that Carl Edwards Jr. had a 6.0 BB/9 in 24 Triple-A appearances last season but went on to finish the year as one of the best relievers on the World Series champs.

    Christian Walker, 1B/LF, Arizona Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno) | Diamondbacks Depth Chart

    Walker’s already difficult path to the Majors could not have taken a worse turn during the past offseason. With limited at-bats available in Baltimore behind Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, the right-handed hitting first baseman was designated for assignment in February. The likelihood of a better opportunity lied ahead. But it never came. By the time the regular season started, he had been claimed on waivers by three different teams—Braves, Reds and Diamondbacks—that employed superstar first basemen who rarely miss a game. In late March, he was designated for assignment a fourth time, only to clear waivers and remain with the Diamondbacks.

    To his credit, the 26-year-old did not let the limited opportunity and removal from the 40-man roster affect him at the plate. After putting up what would be slightly below-average numbers for a first baseman in Triple-A during parts of the previous three seasons, Walker has taken his game to another level in 2017. In 565 plate appearances, he’s been the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A version of Paul Goldschmidt, slashing .312/.384/.609 with 32 homers and 34 doubles. While the Pacific Coast League is more hitter-friendly than the International League, where Walker played previously, his improved walk and strikeout rates (145 BB, 406 K from ’14-16; 58 BB, 97 K in ’17) are indications that a better approach at the plate has helped lead to his success.

    A September call-up is in the cards as the D-backs have gotten very little from their pinch-hitters in ’17 (.636 OPS), but they’d also do Walker a huge favor by either trading him in the offseason to a team where he has a chance to play or removing him from the 40-man roster—assuming he’s added in September—so he can opt for free agency.

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Promote Tyler Mahle]]> 2017-08-27T18:38:10Z 2017-08-27T18:37:12Z
  • The Reds selected the contract of right-hander Tyler Mahle before Sunday’s game against the Pirates and optioned fellow righty Luke Farrell to Triple-A Louisville (updated depth chart). The 22-year-old Mahle, who made his big league debut with a start on Sunday, earned his way to the majors with a combined 2.06 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 144 1/3 innings between the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season. Baseball America (No. 78), FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen (No. 85) and (No. 86) each regard Mahle as one of the sport’s 100 best prospects. The 2013 seventh-round pick has a mid-rotation ceiling, per, which notes that he’s a “command and control specialist” who brings a low-90s fastball that can touch 96 mph and average secondary offerings to the table.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Luis Castillo Earns 2018 Rotation Spot]]> 2017-08-27T17:14:52Z 2017-08-27T17:14:52Z
  • Reds rookie right-hander Luis Castillo has already earned a place in their 2018 rotation, manager Bryan Price told Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer and other reporters Saturday. “In his case, he’s not only pitched really well in our system in Double-A, but he’s continued to pitch well and get better during his time in the big leagues. For me, he’s a guy that’s in our rotation,” Price said of Castillo, who fired seven innings of three-hit, one-run, nine-strikeout ball against the Pirates on Saturday. That will go down as one of the last appearances of the year for Castillo, whom the Reds will soon shut down for the season because of an innings limit, per Buchanan. The flamethrowing 24-year-old has pitched to a 3.26 ERA and posted 9.66 K/9 against 3.61 BB/9, with a 57 percent ground-ball rate, across 77 1/3 major league frames this season.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Reds Select Chad Wallach's Contract]]> 2017-08-26T20:44:07Z 2017-08-26T20:43:55Z
  • The Reds outrighted right-hander Nefi Ogando to Triple-A, according to Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link).  Ogando has been limited to just 5 1/3 minor league innings this season due to a hand injury, and then a shoulder injury suffered while rehabbing his hand.  The hard-throwing Ogando has a 3.86 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and 1.69 K/BB rate over 373 1/3 career innings in the farm systems for four different teams (Reds, Marlins, Phillies, Red Sox) in his eight-year pro career.  Ogando has also had a couple of brief stints at the big league level with Miami and Philadelphia over the last two seasons.
  • The White Sox purchased the contract of catcher Rob Brantly from Triple-A, in a corresponding move to the 10-day DL placement of outfielder Nicky Delmonico.  Brantly has spent the entire season with the Triple-A affiliates of the White Sox and Reds, coming to Chicago’s organization in late June after being released by Cincy.  He’ll be looking for his first taste of MLB action since 2015, when he appeared in 14 games in a previous stint with the White Sox.
  • The Reds selected the contract of catcher Chad Wallach from Triple-A Louisville prior to yesterday’s game.  The move was made to replace Stuart Turner, who went on the paternity list.  Even if it may be a brief stint as Cincy’s backup catcher, it still represents the first big league callup for Wallach, a fifth-round pick for Miami in the 2013 draft and the owner of a .259/.350/.387 slash line over 1477 plate appearances in the minors.  Wallach, the son of longtime Expos/Dodgers third baseman and current Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach, joined the Reds in December 2014 along with Anthony DeSclafani in the trade that sent Mat Latos to Miami.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Angels Claim Blake Wood]]> 2017-08-26T00:31:27Z 2017-08-26T00:05:59Z The Angels have claimed righty Blake Wood off waivers from the Reds, per a club announcement. Right-hander Matt Shoemaker was shifted to the 60-day DL to make way for the acquisition.

    Wood had been designated recently by Cincinnati after a pair of dreadful outings. But he certainly has a big arm and some track record of success in the majors.

    The Halos will hope that Wood becomes the team’s latest reclamation success — perhaps helping to make up for the absence of David Hernandez, who was dealt away at the deadline. Since, the Angels have managed to climb into the thick of the AL Wild Card race.

    Wood, 32, carried a 3.69 ERA until he was lit up on August 11th. Now, just two weeks later, that figure has ballooned all the way to 5.65. But he does still have solid-enough peripherals, with 9.7 K/9 against 4.6 BB/9 along with a 53.6% groundball rate, and still works in the 97 mph range with his heater.

    If Wood can prove his worth in Los Angeles, the club may also consider retaining him for the future. He’s earning $1.275MM this year and can be tendered arbitration once more this fall.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Central Notes: Cardinals, Reds, Cubs]]> 2017-08-24T23:17:55Z 2017-08-24T23:17:55Z The Cardinals see “a need” in the closer role in the wake of Trevor Rosenthal’s Tommy John surgery, but GM Mike Girsch tells’s Jen Langosch that “there’s not a ton we can do about it” this year. While the club is still looking to see if there’s a late-inning arm to be had, he suggested, it’s just not likely that one will be found with another week to go until the end of August (after which players who are traded cannot appear on a postseason roster). But the Cards will look to bolster the pen over the winter, Girsch said, with the precise direction still to be determined — based in part upon how things go the rest of the way and what the market bears.

    • In other Cardinals-focused coverage, Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a look at the immediate replacement options for Rosenthal. And his colleague, Derrick Goold, analyzes the organization’s possible September call-ups. GM John Mozeliak says that the organization is rich in upper-level talent that could contribute down the stretch. Goold’s examination goes into great detail on the thought process, and is well worth a read — even for fans of other teams.
    • With somewhat less fanfare, for obvious reasons, the Reds also recently lost a key pitcher for the rest of the season: righty Scott Feldman, who required knee surgery. Feldman ended up taking down $4MM in total for his 2017 season, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes — with incentives boosting his $2.3MM base salary. He’ll likely be as affordable, if not moreso, this coming winter, though Feldman did post solid results before his knee started barking. He also seemingly left a good impression, with manager Bryan Price crediting Feldman as “a tremendous competitor, though the skipper also hinted that the organization will be aiming to minimize the health risk in building out its rotation over the winter.
    • The Cubs have several relatively unheralded players that could make big contributions down the stretch,’s Jesse Rogers writes. Swingman Mike Montgomery and infielder Tommy La Stella have already made an impact while filling in for injured regulars, Rogers notes, while the team may yet hope for a late charge from struggling relievers Hector Rondon and Justin Wilson.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Release Kahaloa, Sign De Paula]]> 2017-08-24T02:41:22Z 2017-08-24T02:39:32Z
  • The Reds have made a pair of minor moves involving right-handed pitchers. Prospect Ian Kahaloa was released after a recreational drug suspension earlier this year. The 19-year-old was a fifth-round pick in 2015 and had produced quality results at the Rookie ball level before running into off-the-field trouble. In another move, Cincinnati signed Rafael De Paula after he was cut loose by the Padres. He originally went to San Diego along with Yangervis Solarte in the 2014 swap that sent Chase Headley to the Yankees. De Paula had some success at the Double-A level for the Pads after converting to a relief role, but struggled to a 4.99 ERA in his 30 2/3 Triple-A frames.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Designate Blake Wood, Select Contract Of Alejandro Chacin]]> 2017-08-23T19:50:10Z 2017-08-23T19:26:40Z The Reds have announced a series of transactions designed to get some fresh arms to the majors. In moves with 40-man implications, righty Blake Wood was designated for assignment while the team selected the contract of fellow right-hander Alejandro Chacin. Additionally, righty Luke Farrell was recalled and outfielder Phil Ervin was optioned back to Triple-A.

    It’s a bit surprising to see Cincinnati cut ties with Wood, who is eligible for arbitration one final time in 2018 after earning $1.275MM this year. The 32-year-old does carry an ugly 5.65 ERA, but that’s due in large part to the staggering nine earned runs he allowed in his last two outings. (More generally, too, he carries a low strand rate of 62.1% and has been tagged for a lofty .364 BABIP by opposing hitters.) Of course, that pair of disastrous appearances also likely paved the way for today’s move.

    Despite the less-than-exciting earned run average, Wood has averaged 9.7 K/9 against 4.6 BB/9 on the year while sporting a 53.6% groundball rate. And he still delivers an upper-nineties heater that could hold appeal to other organizations.

    That said, the Reds surely at least looked for takers and perhaps found insufficient interest. And the move makes way for Chacin, a 24-year-old who has steadily risen through the ranks over the past three years and figures to be a bullpen option for 2018 and beyond.

    Chacin has spent the entirety of 2017 at Triple-A, posting a 2.60 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 over 69 1/3 innings in 44 appearances. That multi-inning versatility could give the Reds yet another flexible arm — part of an acknowledged strategy of the organization.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Second Opinion Confirms No Ligament Damage For DeSclafani]]> 2017-08-22T23:01:03Z 2017-08-22T22:54:30Z
  • Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani received a second opinion on his injured right elbow, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. After an initial MRI revealed that there was no ligament damage in his ailing right elbow, DeSclafani sent his scans to Dr. Keith Meister for a second look, and Meister confirmed as much. DeSclafani is on a throwing program and hopes to ramp up quicker than usual to “really be able to test the ligament and get back on the mound,” but Buchanan notes that time could be starting to run out for DeSclafani to take the mound in a Reds uniform this season. DeSclafani has not pitched for the Reds this season due to a sprained UCL in his right elbow and this latest bout of inflammation.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Scott Feldman Undergoes Knee Surgery]]> 2017-08-23T12:41:33Z 2017-08-22T19:47:40Z Reds righty Scott Feldman will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing knee surgery today, per a club announcement (h/t’s Mark Sheldon, on Twitter). His right knee was cleaned up in the arthroscopic procedure.

    With that news, the 34-year-old will almost certainly return to the open market before throwing another pitch for Cincinnati. The 13-year MLB veteran had joined the club on a one-year, $2.3MM pact over the winter.

    It seemed at one point that Feldman would make for an interesting summer trade chip for the Reds, given his cheap salary and solid performance through the end of June. Since then, however, he has made only four starts, over which he has surrendered 18 earned runs in just 13 2/3 innings.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Lack Of Cozart Market Could Create Dilemma For Reds]]> 2017-08-21T16:56:16Z 2017-08-21T16:56:16Z While Zack Cozart still stands out as a logical on-paper trade candidate, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that it doesn’t seem that much of a market has developed for the 31-year-old. That puts the Reds in a difficult position, as if no trade materializes, they’ll need to weigh whether to make Cozart a qualifying offer that’ll likely be worth a bit more than $18MM. Cozart’s sensational defense and huge step forward both in terms of power and plate discipline make that seem like a reasonable offer for the Reds. However, the lack of a clear market for shortstops and the draft compensation to which he’d be tied could make Cozart at least ponder accepting a theoretical QO, Buchanan notes.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Feldman's Season Could Be In Jeopardy]]> 2017-08-18T14:46:21Z 2017-08-18T14:46:21Z
  • The knee injury that landed Reds righty Scott Feldman on the disabled list last month has resurfaced and could potentially end his season, writes Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Feldman was candid in telling the Cincinnati media, “If it doesn’t get any better, I don’t think I can pitch like that anymore.” Feldman served up five homers to the Cubs in fewer than four innings before exiting yesterday’s game. Feldman’s fastball was sitting at 82 mph in that rocky outing, Buchanan notes, and the veteran acknowledged that he’s “not really feeling too confident” about the outlook of the injury. This isn’t Feldman’s first bout of troubles with his right knee; the right-hander underwent microfracture surgery on that same knee back in 2011 and tore a meniscus in that same knee four years later with the Astros.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Face Rotation Questions In September]]> 2017-08-17T01:59:42Z 2017-08-17T01:59:42Z
  • The Reds may have more question marks in their pitching staff heading into the final six weeks of the season than they did entering the year, writes Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The cavalcade of injuries that has beset the team’s rotation has deprived the Reds of looks at a number of young arms and also created uncertainty around preseason rotation locks such as Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan. A six-man rotation could be on the horizon, Buchanan notes, and Robert Stephenson is already set to rejoin the rotation this weekend. Manager Bryan Price also indicated that right-hander Sal Romano will continue starting, per Buchanan. The skipper also indicated that righty reliever Austin Brice could be done for the year due to a lat injury.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 8/16/17]]> 2017-08-16T19:34:50Z 2017-08-16T19:34:50Z Here are some of the latest minor moves from around the game, courtesy of Baseball America’s Matt Eddy except where otherwise noted:

    • The Mariners outrighted right-hander Christian Bergman to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, per a club announcement. Bergman, 29, had the right to opt for free agency now or at the end of the season; given that he’s now listed on Tacoma’s roster, it seems he’ll wait and consider the latter option when the time comes. Bergman, 29, has thrown 51 1/3 innings on the year for Seattle, working to a 4.91 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
    • Outfielder Daniel Robertson will return to the Indians on a minors deal after being designated for assignment and then released, the club announced. The 31-year-old has appeared in each of the past four MLB campaigns — each time with a different team.  This year, he took 88 plate appearances for Cleveland, slashing .225/.287/.338. While it’s not clear whether Robertson will factor at the major league level again this year, the fleet-footed, high-contact 31-year-old could conceivably make for a useful bench piece once rosters expand in September.
    • The Diamondbacks have added right-handers Andury Acevedo and Louis Coleman on minors deals. Acevedo, who’ll soon turn 27, was intriguing enough to land a 40-man spot with the Cubs a few years back, but has yet to show any consistency on the mound in the upper minors. As for Coleman, who threw 48 innings of 4.69 ERA ball last year for the Dodgers, he’ll return to Arizona after briefly testing the open market. He has worked to a 2.05 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 over 57 innings this year in stints with the D-Backs’ and Reds’ top affiliates.
    • Heading to the Reds on a minors deal is slugging outfielder Adam Walker. He has bounced around via waiver claims and minor-league deals of late, seeing time in three organizations thus far in 2017. All told, he has compiled a tepid .185/.220/.410 batting line — with a dozen home runs but also 88 strikeouts against just ten walks — in his 241 plate appearances in the upper minors.
    • The White Sox released infielder Grant Green, who had previously seen brief action in the majors this year with the Nationals. On the season, Green owns an overall .232/.306/.300 slash over 245 plate appearances at the Triple-A level with those two organizations. The 29-year-old was once considered a notable possible contributor with the Athletics and Angels, but has managed only a .248/.283/.336 batting line in his 353 trips to the plate in the majors.
    • Six-year MLB veteran Collin Cowgill has been released by the Padres. Cowgill, 31, joined the organization on a minors deal over the winter, but never earned a crack at a return to the majors. He carries a .235/.297/.390 slash through 220 plate appearances
    • Finally, the Rangers have released lefty Bobby LaFromboise and righty Jaye Chapman. The former has made 27 MLB appearances and shown some intriguing numbers at times, but struggled last year at Triple-A with the Phillies and was sidelined for much of the current season. The 30-year-old Chapman, meanwhile, is looking to work back toward the majors for the first time since his lone stint back in 2012. But he was hit hard in his 36 2/3 innings at Triple-A Round Rock, with a 6.63 ERA and 6.9 K/9 against 5.2 BB/9.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Outright Van Slyke, Alcantara]]> 2017-08-16T00:09:30Z 2017-08-16T00:00:47Z
  • The Reds announced this afternoon that outfielder Scott Van Slyke has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Louisville after clearing waivers. Cincinnati designated Van Slyke for assignment last week, making it clear that his inclusion in the team’s return for Tony Cingrani was mostly a financial mechanism. Van Slyke has struggled to a .196/.280/.308 in 161 plate appearances across the past two seasons and has posted a marginal .714 OPS through 221 PAs in Triple-A as well. Van Slyke could have rejected the outright assignment in favor of free agency, but doing so would’ve meant forfeiting the remaining $341K on this year’s $1.325MM salary. If he’s no re-added to the 40-man roster before season’s end, Van Slyke will have the opportunity to elect free agency following the season.
  • Also outrighted was Reds utilityman Arismendy Alcantara, the Cincinnati organization announced. He’s heading to Double-A, with Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer noting on Twitter that the club’s top affiliate is rather well-stocked with infielders. Alcantara, 25, has appeared in the majors in each of the past four seasons, but has struggled to a .189/.235/.315 batting line with 150 strikeouts in his 459 plate appearances. While he has intrigued at times in the upper minors with a blend of power, speed, and defensive versatility, Alcantara just hasn’t been able to turn the corner in his relatively limited opportunities at the game’s highest level — where his swing-and-miss proclivities have been exposed.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Devin Mesoraco Diagnosed With Fractured Foot]]> 2017-08-15T04:38:01Z 2017-08-15T04:28:38Z Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco has once again been hit with an injury, this time a fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). More will be known about his prognosis once he is examined by team doctors.

    Significant hip and shoulder problems have limited the 29-year-old in recent years. In fact, his 55 games this year represent the most action he has seen since 2014 — a season in which he had emerged as one of the game’s most productive backstops with 25 long balls and a 147 OPS+.

    Mesoraco has battled just to get on the field ever since. He was hitting quite well earlier this year after opening on the disabled list, but has struggled badly at the plate since returning in July from another DL placement for a shoulder issue. Through 164 plate appearances on the year, Mesoraco owns a .213/.317/.390 slash with six home runs.

    It remains to be seen whether Mesoraco will be able to return from his latest injury during the current season. Regardless, he’ll wrap up another injury-riddled campaign and head into the offseason in hopes of returning to full health. Mesoraco is slated to earn $13MM in 2018, the final year of the four-year, $28MM extension he inked after that excellent 2014 season.

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Reds Designate Arismendy Alcantara For Assignment]]> 2017-08-12T19:50:07Z 2017-08-12T19:41:30Z The Reds have announced that they’ve designated infielder/outfielder Arismendy Alcantara for assignment. The move clears space for righty Scott Feldman, who returns from the disabled list to start tonight against Milwaukee.

    Alcantara was once a top prospect who showed good basestealing ability and burgeoning power in the minors, but his stock has fallen in recent years as he’s passed through the Cubs and Athletics organizations. The Reds claimed him from Oakland last October, and he’s batted a very poor .171/.187/.248 (including a 35.2 K% and 1.9 BB%) in 108 plate appearances while playing six positions in the big leagues this season. He’s also out of options, further complicating any hopes the Reds might have had of continuing to carry him on their roster. In parts of four big-league seasons, Alcantara has batted just .189/.235/.315 in 459 plate appearances.

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Scott Feldman Returns To Reds' Rotation]]> 2017-08-12T18:25:54Z 2017-08-12T18:25:54Z
  • The Reds have announced that righty Scott Feldman will start tonight against Milwaukee as he returns from about four weeks on the DL with knee inflammation. That’s significant because Feldman could be a trade candidate this month — he’s a free agent after the season and might very well have been traded last month had he not been hurt. It’s also possible Feldman could be claimed should the Reds place him on revocable waivers, since he’s only making $2.3MM this season and has produced a 4.34 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 over 103 2/3 innings.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Acquire Kevin Franklin From Reds As PTBNL In Brandon Phillips Swap]]> 2017-08-12T00:58:52Z 2017-08-12T00:58:52Z The Braves have received first baseman Kevin Franklin from the Reds, per an announcement from the Cincinnati organization. He represents the player to be named later from the February swap that sent infielder Brandon Phillips to Atlanta.

    Franklin, 22, was taken in the second round of the 2013 draft. But he has yet to make much progress through the system. Indeed, he has topped out thus far at the High-A level, with tepid numbers all along the way. This year, Franklin has appeared in only 27 A-ball games, posting an ugly .179/.225/.238 batting line.

    The trade remains something of an odd one, due largely to Phillips’s no-trade protection and sizable salary. Atlanta took on only $1MM of his salary in the trade, while sending pitchers Andrew McKirahan and Carlos Portuondo to the Reds. Neither of those hurlers has seen much action this year or shown a particular likelihood of contributing at the MLB level.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Claim Luke Farrell, Designate Scott Van Slyke]]> 2017-08-09T18:48:17Z 2017-08-09T18:48:17Z The Reds announced on Wednesday that they’ve claimed right-hander Luke Farrell off waivers from the Dodgers and designated former Dodger Scott Van Slyke for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Farrell has been optioned to Triple-A Louisville, per the Reds’ announcement.

    The 26-year-old Farrell is the son of Red Sox manager John Farrell and made his MLB debut with the Royals earlier this year. He was knocked around for five runs on seven hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings, and that outing still represents his long MLB appearance.

    Though his debut was rough, Farrell has produced solid Triple-A results in 2016-17, working to a combined 3.83 ERA with 8.5 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and roughly a 36 percent ground-ball rate in 199 2/3 innings. He has a pair of minor league options remaining beyond this season, which also figures to have some appeal to the Reds.

    Van Slyke was acquired alongside catching prospect Hendrik Clementina minutes before the non-waiver trade deadline in the trade that sent Tony Cingrani to the Dodgers. While some may wonder why the Reds didn’t simply acquire Farrell in place of Van Slyke in that trade, it’s likely due to the fact that the Reds took on the remainder of Van Slyke’s salary, thus offsetting some of the financial cost of Cingrani for Los Angeles.

    The 31-year-old Van Slyke is earning $1.325MM and has appeared in just 29 games this season (all with the Dodgers), hitting .122/.250/.293 in 48 plate appearances. Van Slyke, of course, has had his share of success in the Majors but hasn’t been especially productive since 2014. He’s also carrying a disappointing .714 OPS in Triple-A this season.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[10 Veterans Clear Revocable Waivers]]> 2017-08-07T12:39:11Z 2017-08-06T19:41:40Z A slew of household names cleared revocable waivers recently, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag in a pair of articles. The list consists of Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper, Reds first baseman Joey Votto, Tigers left fielder Justin Upton, Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford and four Mets – outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, second baseman Neil Walker and reliever AJ Ramos. All of these players are now eligible for August trades.

    It’s obvious that Harper, one of the game’s preeminent superstars, isn’t going anywhere. As Heyman notes, no team bothered to claim Harper because they realized putting the 24-year-old through waivers was merely a procedural maneuver by first-place Washington.

    Votto, 33, won’t be on the move, either, as he’s a Cincinnati institution who has a full no-trade clause and a guaranteed $171MM coming his way through 2024.

    Hernandez also enjoys full no-trade rights, though he hasn’t aged nearly as well as Votto. The former ace’s performance has declined drastically over the past couple years, making his contract a burden to the Mariners. The 31-year-old is on a $26MM salary this season and next, and he’s due another $27MM in 2019. Further hampering his trade value, King Felix is on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis.

    Davis, meanwhile, has a partial no-trade clause, and it’s difficult to imagine any team showing interest in the once-elite offensive force. The 31-year-old is amid his second straight mediocre season since re-signing in Baltimore on a seven-year, $161MM contract.

    Upton, 29, is having an outstanding season, but he comes with a pricey salary ($22.13MM through 2021), and both his 20-team no-trade rights and opt-out clause complicate matters. Upton could vacate the remaining four years and $88MM-plus left on his deal after this season, but there’s a strong likelihood he’ll ride out the remainder of the contract, Heyman suggests. Regardless, there hasn’t been any real trade interest in Upton to this point, according to Heyman.

    With his $8MM salary this season, Crawford is eminently affordable now, but he’s due $60MM from 2018-21 and is having a dreadful year offensively. While Crawford remains a great defender, teams might be leery of taking on a highly paid 30-year-old (31 in January) whose offensive production has suddenly cratered. He’s another member of the full no-trade clause club, too, further decreasing the chances of a deal.

    As for the Mets, we now know of six of their veterans who have passed through waivers, with outfielders Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson having done so earlier this week. The best of the bunch is Cespedes, whom the Mets re-signed to a four-year, $110MM contract in the offseason. Even if the Mets wanted to deal Cespedes, the 31-year-old has a full NTC that would enable him to block any move.

    Walker has also dealt with hamstring issues – a partial tear that sidelined the 31-year-old from mid-June until last week. The soon-to-be free agent has gone just 3 of 26 at the plate since his return, but he still comes with a quality track record and is on pace for another decent offensive season (.254/.332/.431 in 281 plate appearances). It’s unclear, though, whether there will be any teams clamoring for the switch-hitting Walker, who’s has roughly $6MM of his $17.2MM salary remaining through season’s end, given a lack of demand for second basemen.

    Cabrera, 31, drew pre-trade deadline interest from the Red Sox and Indians, but they’ve patched up their infield situations since then. Moreover, the Mets are reportedly giving strong consideration to going forward with Cabrera next year, when he’s owed either a reasonable salary ($8.5MM) or a $2MM buyout.

    Ramos just joined the Mets last week in a trade with the National League East rival Marlins. Several teams were interested in acquiring the 32-year-old leading up to July 31, though some of those clubs went on to make other deals for relievers after he went to the Mets. Plus, the Mets may favor keeping Ramos in hopes of contending in 2018. He’s owed around $2MM through the end of this season and has one more year of arbitration eligibility.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Players That Have Cleared Revocable Waivers]]> 2017-08-29T13:05:28Z 2017-08-05T21:20:46Z We’ll use this post to keep track of players that have reportedly cleared revocable waivers. Before diving into the names, a few items bear repeating. The majority of Major League players will be placed on trade waivers this month, with most instances going unreported. There are undoubtedly players (quite a few of them, most likely) who have already cleared waivers but have not been reported to have done so. Players can be traded into September, as well, but only those traded on or before Aug. 31 will be eligible for the postseason with their new teams, so there’s some urgency for contending clubs to complete deals by month’s end. And, of course, for those who aren’t familiar with the inner-workings of waiver trades, MLBTR published a full explanation of how August trades work earlier this month.

    Here’s the current list (last updated Aug. 29):

    • Jeff Samardzija, SP, Giants (link): While he hasn’t produced great results this year and is owed another $54MM over the following three seasons, Samardzija has put up compelling peripherals and has long been a scout’s favorite. Still, the Giants may not be all that inclined to move him and Samardzija has broad no-trade protection, so a deal seems unlikely.
    • Nicholas Castellanos, 3B, Tigers (link): The 25-year-old hasn’t produced at the plate this year after a quality 2016 season. But he is still hitting the ball hard and could be an interesting bounceback target for other organizations — with an offseason deal seeming more likely than a late-August swap. Castellanos is playing this year on a $3MM salary and can be controlled for two more campaigns via arbitration.
    • R.A. Dickey, RHP, Braves (link): Dickey has been just what Atlanta thought it was getting: a solid innings eater with plenty of durability but limited upside. He could fill in the fifth slot in a contender’s rotation, but teams might be reluctant to force one of their catchers to learn to catch a knuckleball this late in the year. He’s averaging six innings per start, and Atlanta may just keep him around in 2018.
    • Brad Ziegler, RHP, Marlins (link): Ziegler has been stellar since returning from the disabled list and could certainly help a contending club’s bullpen. However, he’s owed $9MM in 2018, and the Marlins now find themselves back in Wild Card contention — both of which make a trade before the end of August unlikely. He could be an offseason trade candidate.
    • Miguel Gonzalez, RHP, White Sox (link): Gonzalez is earning $5.9MM in 2017 and has been a serviceable, if unspectacular source of innings for the ChiSox. He won’t be a part of a contending club’s playoff rotation, but a team with a big division lead that is looking to rest its rotation (or allow some of its injured rotation members to mend) could turn to Gonzalez for some stability. The asking price won’t be much.
    • Derek Holland, LHP, White Sox (link): Like Gonzalez, Holland could be a rotation stabilizer for a team with a comfortable division lead. He’s also shut down opposing lefties (.216/.279/.333) in 2017, so perhaps a club would look at him as a potential relief specialist with expanded September rosters on the horizon.
    • James Shields, RHP, White Sox (link): The Sox still owe Shields the balance of a $10MM commitment this season (the Padres are on the hook for the rest), plus $12MM in 2018. Given his enormous struggles over the past two seasons, he’s not going anywhere unless the ChiSox simply cut bait and release him.
    • Victor Martinez, DH, Tigers (link): Martinez has been a decidedly below-average contributor at the plate in 2017 and is owed the balance of this year’s $18MM salary plus an identical $18MM salary in 2018. The Tigers won’t find any takers here.
    • Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers (link): Cabrera is 34 years old and has been a roughly league-average hitter in 2017. He’s owed a ridiculous $192MM from 2018-23 and has full no-trade protection as well. That last point is largely moot, though, as his enormous contract makes him all but impossible to move anyhow.
    • Jordan Zimmermann, RHP, Tigers (link): With a 5.29 ERA in his nearly two seasons as a Tiger and $74MM owed to him from 2018-20, Zimmermann is effectively an immovable asset for the Tigers.
    • Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins (link): Stanton is owed $295MM over the next decade, so an attempt at acquiring him wouldn’t exactly make for a casual undertaking. He has more than made up for a relatively disappointing 2016 season thus far with a monster 2017, boosting his value, but structuring a deal would be complicated by a variety of factors — including the Miami organization’s still-pending sale.
    • Brandon Phillips, 2B, Braves (link): The 36-year-old isn’t the exciting option he once was, but Phillips still brings acceptable and affordable production to the table. Combining those factors with his impending free agency, Phillips seems like someone the Braves could realistically trade this month.
    • Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants (link): Crawford emerged as a two-way star over the previous couple seasons, pairing good offense with otherworldly defense. His glovework remains strong, but the 30-year-old’s production at the plate has fallen off dramatically this season. The Giants reportedly still have little interest in dealing him, and doing so would be difficult in any event. Crawford, who’s making $8MM this year, will rake in $15MM each season from 2018-21. He also has a full no-trade clause.
    • Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners (link): Unfortunately, King Felix’s days as an ace appear long gone, which is all the more troubling for the Mariners when taking his contract into consideration. Hernandez, 31, is collecting a $26MM salary this year and will make $53MM more from 2018-19. He also has a full no-trade clause, making him even less movable.
    • Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Mets (link): Unlike fellow Mets outfielders Bruce and Granderson, Cespedes doesn’t seem like a logical trade candidate. Cespedes is in the first season of a four-year, $110MM deal, and the Mets gave the franchise cornerstone a full no-trade clause when they re-signed him.
    • Asdrubal Cabrera, INF, Mets (link): Cabrera, who’s making $8.25MM this season and has either an $8.5MM club option or a $2MM buyout for 2018, drew trade interest in July. However, recent indications are that the Mets are leaning toward keeping him in the fold for next year.
    • AJ Ramos, RP, Mets (link): Ramos was a popular name in trade rumors before the Mets acquired him from the Marlins in late July. Plenty of teams showed interest in Ramos, so perhaps the Mets would be able to find a taker for the longtime closer. However, New York acquired Ramos knowing it wasn’t in contention this season, so keeping him into 2018 – his final season of arbitration eligibility – looks more likely.
    • Bryce Harper, RF, Nationals (link): Harper isn’t going anywhere. Putting the superstar through waivers was purely a procedural move by the Nationals.
    • Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles (link): Davis, 31, no longer resembles the force of nature he was at the plate before the Orioles handed him a seven-year, $161MM contract leading up to the 2016 campaign. They included a partial no-trade clause in the accord, but the contract itself has essentially become a full NTC thanks to Davis’ decline. Realistically, Baltimore’s stuck with him.
    • Joey Votto, 1B, Reds (link): The Reds haven’t shown any interest in moving Votto, nor has he expressed a willingness to leave Cincinnati. Considering those factors, the remaining money on Votto’s enormous contract (a guaranteed $171MM through 2024) and his full no-trade clause, the hitting savant will stay where he is.
    • Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers (link): With plenty of cash still owed this year and $56MM more promised through 2019, Verlander is not a guy who’ll casually be acquired. Things are complicated by Detroit’s inclination to try to achieve real value for a cornerstone player, not to mention Verlander’s full no-trade rights — though he seems willing to entertain a move. While a deal still seems less than likely, Verlander could be a fascinating player to watch if he throws well and one or more contenders see a need for his services.
    • Justin Upton, LF, Tigers (link): As is the case with Verlander, moving Upton would be a major challenge for Detroit. Not only does Upton have a 20-team no-trade clause, but his contract includes an opt-out clause for after the season, when he’ll have to decide whether to play out his deal or leave four years and roughly $88MM on the table. The tricky financial situation has apparently overshadowed the great season Upton’s having, as nobody has shown real interest in acquiring him.

    Additionally, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce and Neil Walker cleared waivers before their respective trades to the Dodgers, Indians and the Brewers.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Anthony DeSclafani Cleared Of New Structural Damage To Elbow]]> 2017-08-05T01:06:03Z 2017-08-05T01:06:03Z Reds fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as righty Anthony DeSclafani has not suffered any new damage to his sprained ulnar collateral ligament, as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He left his rehab outing yesterday with forearm discomfort, but that was diagnosed as stemming from tendinitis.

    Today’s news is the”best-case scenario,” as DeSclafani himself noted. But it’s still a disappointing turn, as he has already missed the entire season to this point and had finally begun pitching in game action. DeSclafani was also sidelined for a significant stretch last year, though he was excellent upon his return and ended the 2016 season with 123 1/3 innings of 3.28 ERA pitching.

    The talented righty will rest for at least a few days, but there remains ample cause to take care in bringing him back to full speed. It’s certainly possible, then, that he’ll still be able to return to the majors this year, but that will all depend upon how his forearm feels over the coming weeks.

    That’d represent a desirable development for the Reds, who will enter the winter with quite a bit of uncertainty in the rotation yet again. Many of the team’s younger starters have struggled to find their footing, while the more established pitchers (DeSclafani, Scott Feldman, Bronson Arroyo, and even Brandon Finnegan) have dealt with injuries.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Acquire International Pool Money From Reds]]> 2017-08-04T23:41:59Z 2017-08-04T23:41:59Z The Braves have struck a deal to acquire some international spending capacity from the Reds, both teams announced. In return, Cincinnati will receive minor-league outfielder Randy Ventura.

    $1.25MM in pool money is changing hands, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter). Under the new bonus system that goes into place this year, there’s a hard cap on spending. The Reds had started with $5.25MM in availability, while Atlanta had $4.75MM. It’s permissible for teams to trade away their entire allocation, though clubs can only boost their original pools by 75%.

    This exchange of spending capacity is more about the volume of signings than aiding the pursuit of bigger fish. Both teams are serving bans on doling out bonuses of over $300K after blowing past their allocations in the prior signing period (when that was still permitted, albeit with penalties).

    Both clubs have been rather aggressive with their international outlays in recent years — Atlanta, in particular. Indeed, that’s how the Braves landed Ventura, who signed during the 2014-15 period.

    Despite a slight build, Ventura has drawn some attention for his tools — especially, his speed. He swiped 55 bags in just 58 games in the Dominican Summer League upon signing and has stolen 29 through 95 games of Low-A ball this year. That said, he has also yet to develop any pop, with his on-base percentage out-pacing his slugging percentage in each of his pro seasons. Through 413 trips to the plate in 2017, Ventura owns a .294/.338/.325 batting line.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[DeSclafani Leaves Rehab Start With Forearm Discomfort]]> 2017-08-04T04:39:24Z 2017-08-04T04:35:07Z The Reds received concerning news today on righty Anthony DeSclafani. As Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, the rehabbing starter was pulled from his outing after experiencing discomfort in his forearm (and after surrendering eight runs on eight hits in the first inning). DeSclafani has been working back from a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He had only just progressed to game action after a long layoff; that he is now experiencing forearm discomfort — which is often connected with elbow issues — is certainly discouraging.

    • There were more promising developments for the Reds, too. Shortstop Zack Cozart could be read to return from the DL as soon as Saturday, manager Bryan Price tells reporters including Buchanan (via Twitter). The 31-year-old’s balky quad took him out of consideration for a deadline-day deal, though a lack of demand has been the larger problem. Still, the sooner he is able to return to show his health, the more likely it is that Cincinnai will ultimately be able to find some kind of worthwhile swap involving the veteran.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Notes: Winker, Schebler, Feldman, Herrera]]> 2017-08-03T04:19:55Z 2017-08-03T04:19:05Z
  • Reds outfield prospect Jesse Winker, who was recalled from Triple-A this week, is in line for regular playing time in the Majors now, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). The Reds tabbed Winker with the 49th overall pick in the 2012 draft, and he’s been considered among the game’s top 100 or so prospects for much of the past three years. Winker had a cup of coffee earlier this season but returned to Triple-A in short order, where he ultimately put together a .314/.395/.408 showing. Wrist injuries have led to a power outage for Winker over the past two seasons, but he looks to be regaining some of the pop he showed from 2013-15, as he’s homered in consecutive games for the Reds (including tonight).
  • Buchanan also provides some updates on a trio of injured Reds players in a full column. Outfielder Scott Schebler, whose absence has helped create an opening for Winker, was diagnosed with a bruised rotator cuff following an MRI exam. He’s out for at least the next two to three weeks, per Buchanan. Injured righty Scott Feldman, meanwhile, threw a three-inning simulated game today, though the timeline on his return to the Majors isn’t yet clear. And second base prospect Dilson Herrera, who had a bone spur removed from his shoulder recently, will be cleared to begin throwing in three to four months. Buchanan’s column has more quotes and context from manager Bryan Price and Reds team doctor Timothy Kremchek, so Reds fans should take a look for more details.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dodgers Acquire Tony Cingrani]]> 2017-07-31T22:20:53Z 2017-07-31T20:21:39Z The Dodgers have added another lefty, picking up Tony Cingrani from the Reds. In return, Cincinnati has acquired outfielder Scott Van Slyke and catcher Hendrik Clementina.

    Jul 26, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Tony Cingrani (52) pitches against the New York Yankees during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

    Cingrani joins Tony Watson as southpaw bullpen additions for Los Angeles, which came into the deadline looking to bolster that facet of the relief corps. The 28-year-old Cingrani has posted a mediocre 5.40 ERA on the year, but he’s carrying 9.3 K/9 with 2.3 BB/9 to go with it. The real issue thus far has been a monumental home run problem: Cingrani is allowing 3.47 per nine, with 29% of the fly balls he permits leaving the yard.

    Oddly, Cingrani has struggled badly against same-handed hitters, allowing six long balls from just 43 lefties he has squared off against. That figures to balance back out somewhat, though, as he has limited lefty hitters to a .218/.305/.407 slash over his career (including this year’s ugly results).

    Assuming those issues can be brought under control, Cingrani will add a power arm to the L.A. pen. He carries a 12.4% swinging-strike rate and is averaging a healthy 94.6 mph with his fastball. Cingrani represents an affordable option with some future value, too. He is earning just $1.825MM this year and can be offered arbitration over the next two seasons.

    Van Slyke, 31, is another powerful corner outfield option that the Reds have added from the NL West. It’s not immediately clear whether he’ll have much function on the roster, though, and he’ll mostly offset Cingrani’s remaining salary obligations. The real motivation for Cincinnati was surely to add the twenty-year-old Clementina. He’s a Curacaoan backstop who has turned it up at the plate this year in Rookie ball, slashing .370/.439/.554 in a limited 108 plate appearance sample.

    Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Cingrani was on the move (via Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network (Twitter link) connected him to the Dodgers, while Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted the return.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Reds Place Zack Cozart On 10-Day DL]]> 2017-07-29T17:19:37Z 2017-07-29T17:17:52Z The Reds have announced that they’ve placed shortstop Zack Cozart on the 10-day DL, recalling righty Kevin Shackleford from Triple-A Louisville to take his place. Cozart has been out since Tuesday after aggravating a quad injury, as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported yesterday.

    I’m just going to obviously have to deal with the rest of the year,” Cozart said. “I’d like to get whatever happened on Tuesday to calm down a little more so I can just go back to the way I was before Tuesday.”

    [Related: Updated Cincinnati Reds Depth Chart]

    The move suggests the Reds won’t be trading Cozart before Monday’s deadline. Cozart has hit brilliantly (.317/.402/.568) over 322 plate appearances this season and is eligible for free agency next winter, but rumors about him were somewhat scarce in a market in which there was limited need for shortstops. He was briefly connected to the Red Sox before their acquisition of Eduardo Nunez to help at third base.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Deadline Chatter: Nats, Hand, Cards, Cozart, Cubs, Mets]]> 2017-07-26T18:49:50Z 2017-07-26T18:49:50Z The Nationals are “scouring [the] market” for a starter, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). We have heard varying suggestions on this front, as the Nats deal with the loss of Joe Ross and newfound uncertainty regarding Stephen Strasburg. While the latest signs on Stras are positive, Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post argues that the club ought to going after a front-line starter regardless. Beyond the possibility of augmenting the club’s staff for an anticipated postseason appearance this year, the possibility of adding an arm for 2018 and perhaps beyond would seem to hold appeal, perhaps adding to the justification for making a move.

    Here’s more deadline chatter from the National League:

    • Padres chairman Ron Fowler suggested today in a radio appearance on The Mighty 1090 that he doesn’t really expect the team to end up dealing lefty Brad Hand (h/t Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune). “Other things being equal right now, I don’t see us moving him, because we value him more than what’s being offered and we think he could be part of the team for the foreseeable future,” Fowler stated. That said, he acknowledged the team remains open to working out a deal, calling it “a very fluid situation.”
    • Though it’s still unclear just what course the Cardinals will take at the deadline, the club is now “expected to listen to offers” on outfielders Tommy Pham and Randal Grichuk, according to’s Jon Morosi. While the Cards do now have quite a few options in the corner outfield, both of these players seem to fall in a curious spot in the potential market. There just isn’t much deadline demand in the corner outfield to drive up prices, and the Cards would surely be valuing their lengthy control rights in exploring potential deals. While there’d surely be interest, neither really looks to be a likely deadline mover from the outside. Of course, St. Louis also has some shorter-term assets that might be of interest — Lance Lynn, Seung-hwan Oh, and Trevor Rosenthal chief among them — and Morosi does note that the Dodgers and Nationals had scouts at the club’s latest game last night. Whether the Cardinals will really punt on the present season when the division is still in reach, though, is hardly clear at this point.
    • The Reds held shortstop Zack Cozart out of the lineup today as he continues to deal with quad issues, as’s Mark Sheldon writes. It seems the hope is that this is more a rest day than the precursor to a DL stint, but it’s not the best news regardless. Cozart has been great this year, but the quad problem further dents his value in a market that doesn’t seem to have much appetite for shortstops.
    • Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says there’s nothing close to completion at this point for his team, as Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio of Sirius XM tweets. The team is unsurprisingly still looking at pitching, with the rotation and relief corps both being susceptible of improvement.
    • The Cubs are among the teams to have asked the Mets about righty Seth Lugo, per’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). But there’s simply no indication at present that New York will seriously entertain offers on Lugo, as Crasnick and Newsday’s Marc Carig (Twitter link) note. That makes sense given the multitude of pitching injuries the organization has experienced as well as its intentions of competing again in 2018.
    • Some interest has begun to develop in Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). The veteran obviously is very much available, and would conceivably fit quite a few teams as a lefty-hitting outfielder who can still handle some time in center field. On the other hand, he has been hurt and cold at the plate of late, and is playing on a hefty $15MM salary this year.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dilson Herrera To Undergo Shoulder Surgery]]> 2017-07-26T17:17:21Z 2017-07-26T17:17:21Z Reds infielder Dilson Herrera will undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his right shoulder, as C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on Twitter. The procedure is expected to bring Herrera’s season to an end, per’s Mark Sheldon (via Twitter).

    Herrera has tasted the majors previously, during his time with the Mets, but has spent his entire tenure in the Reds organization at Triple-A since coming over in last year’s Jay Bruce swap. Shoulder troubles had increasingly become a concern for the 23-year-old over the course of the year.

    The news brings an unhappy end to what has been a challenging season for Herrera. Expected to push for MLB time, he has managed only a .264/.312/.397 batting line with seven home runs over 264 plate appearances. If he’s able to return to health in time, a fall or winter ball stint may be in the cards.

    It had been hoped that Herrera would play a significant role on the Reds’ 2018 roster. While that may still occur, he has surely fallen behind the surprising Scooter Gennett in the pecking order at second base.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dilson Herrera May Be Out For Season]]> 2017-07-24T14:20:16Z 2017-07-24T14:17:34Z
  • The Reds may not get a look at Dilson Herrera in 2017, as Triple-A manager Delino DeShields recently told Redleg Nation’s Jason Linden“from what I’ve been told, he’s probably done for the year” due to a shoulder injury. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that no one in the Cincinnati front office has offered such a definitive take just yet, though he reports that team doctors are set to evaluate Herrera in Cincinnati this week. Acquired in last year’s Jay Bruce trade, the 23-year-old Herrera hit .264/.312/.397 in 265 Triple-A plate appearances this season. Herrera also battled shoulder issues in 2016 and spent most of this past Spring Training as a DH due to his shoulder.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Scouting Zack Cozart]]> 2017-07-24T04:13:11Z 2017-07-24T04:13:11Z
  • The Red Sox have been scouting Reds shortstop Zack Cozart,’s Evan Drellich reports (via Twitter), though with the caveat that teams around the league are doing their due diligence on many options at this time of year.  MLBTR’s Jeff Todd cited Cozart as a possible creative choice for Boston’s third base problem last month, and obviously the Sox will continue to explore possibilities until they get a sense of what Devers can do in the bigs.  Cozart has been on fire at the plate this year, though as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes, the shortstop is still being careful about re-aggravating the right quad injury that led to a brief DL stint in June.
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